UK police charge MQM founder Altaf Hussain for inciting terror in Karachi

04:32 PM | 10 Oct, 2019
UK police charge MQM founder Altaf Hussain for inciting terror in Karachi
LONDON – Altaf Hussain, the founder of Karachi-based Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM), has been charged by UK police in an incitement speech inquiry for Intentionally Encouraging or Assisting Offences, Contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007, the Scotland Yard has confirmed in a statement.

The 66-year-old appeared at Southwark Police Station in South London for the third time in four months on Thursday to face police grilling in relation to the incitement speech inquiry.

Hussain, who has been remanded in custody to appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court today, has been charged in relation to August 16, 2016, speech which was made from London to Karachi and violence followed as a result of that speech.

"Altaf Hussain (17.09.1953), of Abbey View, Mill Hill, NW7, was charged under section 1(2) of the Terrorism Act (TACT) 2006 with encouraging terrorism, namely: On 22 August 2016 published a speech to crowds gathered in Karachi, Pakistan which were likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom they were published as a direct or indirect encouragement to them to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism and at the time he published them, intended them to be so encouraged, or was reckless as to whether they would be so encouraged," the Scotland Yard statement read.

He was later granted bail and would re-appear before the court though he has been banned from making public speeches.

The MQM founder had been called again in relation to the incitement speech of August 2016 from London to a rally in Karachi.

Hussain was previously arrested on 11 June on suspicion of intentionally encouraging or assisting offences contrary to Section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. He was released on bail and subsequently charged as above.

Scotland Yard confirmed last year that an ‘International Letter of Request’ has been sent by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to the Pakistani authorities, seeking help in its investigations in relation to at least two speeches made by the MQM founder.

Hussain's party was splintered in two factions in 2016 after a series of anti-Pakistan and anti-military speeches. His loyalists formed the London faction, while dissidents are based in Pakistan.

The MQM, which claims to represent the Urdu-speaking migrants who moved to Pakistan with the partition of India in 1947, has often been accused of being involved in violence, with Hussain at the helm.

His party is linked to a carnage in Karachi on May 12, 2007 which killed over 50 people on the occasion of a lawyers rally to welcome then deposed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Iftikhar Chaudhry. Hussain is also accused of masterminding the murder of his close aide and the party's former secretary-general Imran Farooq, who was stabbed to death in 2010 in London.

The party had managed to win majority seats in elections from Karachi -- the country's commercial capital -- from 1988 to 2013 -- however it conceded a huge blow in the 2018 elections at the hands of Prime Minister Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party.